Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission (ZEC) has held an observers briefing ahead of the 2023 elections next week. "The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is not influenced by government, individuals or any other organisations as sometimes alleged" affirms Priscilla Chigumba, the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission's Chairperson, before adding that the commission is "ready to conduct the 2023 harmonised elections", following successful voter registrations initiatives.
"In its operations, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is not influenced by government, individuals or any other organisations as sometimes alleged. Section 235 of the constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees the commission’s independence" Chigumba added.
The run-up to the vote has been marked by a crackdown on dissent and suspicions over possible irregularities.
A pre-election debate in Johannesburg last week saw representatives of four opposition parties, who accused ZANU-PF of fomenting violence and instilling fear among the opposition. The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) alleged last week that one of its members was stoned to death by ZANU-PF supporters in an ambush on the way to a rally in Harare.
Elections in Zimbabwe are "an extreme sport", said Mthulisi Hanana, secretary-general of the ZAPU party.
ZANU-PF officials preach "peace during the day and unleash violence during the night. The default settings of ZANU-PF is when they have run out of ideas... they kill," he said.
The presidential race is largely a rematch between the 2018 leading contestants -- President Emmerson Mnangagwa of ZANU-PF and Nelson Chamisa, a 45-year-old lawyer who heads the country's largest opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC). If there is no outright winner in the presidential contest, a run-off will be held six weeks later, on 2 October.